Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Muslim Expelled from Serbia's National Football Team for Refusing to Sing National Anthem

Belgrade (dpa) - New Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has expelled midfielder Adem Ljajic from the team after he refused to sing the national anthem ahead of a friendly with Spain, the Serbian football association FSS said Monday.

Adem Ljajic. Archive picture: Maurizio Degl'Innocenti/ANSA
Mihajlovic formally took over just a week earlier and his first move was to have the players sign a new code of conduct, which includes an order to sing the anthem.

Ljajic refused to sing ahead of Saturday's match, which Serbia lost 2-0. Mihajlovic met with him Sunday and Ljajic said he will also not sing the anthem in the future because of "personal reasons."

"Sinisa Mihajlovic then told the player to go home," FSS said in a statement on its website (, voicing "full support" for the coach.

Ljajic lives in Sandzak, a volatile, mostly Muslim region straddling Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia. No details about the nature of his refusal to sing the anthem were revealed.

"The doors of the national team are not closed forever for Ljajic," the statement said. "He needs to inform coach Mihajlovic that he has changed his position and may then be called again."

The attacking midfielder Ljajic was also suspended for the season by Fiorentina after an incident with coach Delio Rossi, who was meanwhile fired because of it.

Some reports said that Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund were interested for Ljajic, who moved from Partizan Belgrade to Fiorentina in 2010 on a three-year, 8-million-euro (10.3 million dollars) contract.
Source: DPA
The words of the Serbian anthem are:
God of Justice, You who saved us
From our nation's falling,
Hear the voices of your children,
And be our salvation from now on.

Defend with Your mighty hand,
That future Serbia walks to,
God save; God defend,
Serbian lands and Serbian race!

Bind them closer, fellow Serbs
Teach them everlasting love,
United our enemies we'll conquer
This shall defend us all.

Serbia's golden fruits are now ripe
gracing high from liberty's tree,
God save; God defend,
Serbian lands and Serbian race!

Save all Serbs from Your anger,
Thunder coming from up above,
Bless every Serb's village,
Mountain, meadow, town and home!

When the days of battle happen,
to the victory lead the pace,
God save, God defend,
Serbian lands and Serbian race!

In that sepulcher of years
Serbia's glory rises anew,
A new era now is dawning,
A new beginning, God gave us!

Sustain a patriotic Serbia,
now that five centuries have passed,
God save, God defend,
Thus entreats the Serbian race!

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